Monday, March 30, 2009

A Gaggle of Go-Gos!

Still trying to artificially pump up my mood using old cheesy pop songs. Still not working, but I think it at least keeps me from making drastic decisions that have consequences I'm not prepared for.

And any excuse to dig up more Go-Gos vids can't be all bad. Right?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Betty's Diner

Carrie Newcomer's music is like comfort music for me. It makes me feel better all the way down to the bottom of my soul. (God, that sounded hokey.) I watched the PBS documentary on the Wilderness Plots project last night and now she's been on my mind all day. Just wanted to share that. Sometimes we all need to find our own Betty's Diner.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I know I'm not perfect, but God knows I try.

I'm pretty sure I'm an alright guy too, Todd. So I can't understand why everything sucks right now. Oh well.

BONUS: Here's the original music vid for the song from way back when, before Todd started twiddling with the lyrics. How young he looks!

Monday, March 23, 2009

This one's got some nerd appeal!

Some chick from some sci fi show is in it.

Old 97's "Dance with Me" from last year's excellent CD Blame it on Gravity

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just in the mood for Rhett Miller

This was one of my fave CD's a few years ago.

"Our Love"

Let this be a warning. The likelihood of a bunch of really depressing music vids being posted over the next few days is pretty high. If you haven't figured it out from my recent tweets, I'm in a pretty rough patch and it's not likely to get better any time soon. (Keith and I are fine, though. It's other stuff.)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Crappy Day Antidote

It's been a crappy, crappy day. Crappy. Crappy. Just outright, totally, fundamentally, completely CRAPPY!

Did I mention it was crappy? Well, it was.

So, I need something to counteract all the crappiness. Yes I do. And right now, I can think of nothing better than...


Ahhhh....Belinda singing ABBA! Life is good again!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

We Have Days Yet to Live

So, if Days of Our Lives is through with cast-cutting and ready to move into the future, where does it go from here? Well, let's see what's left to work with first. At their core, good soaps are about families, so what's the score on that front these days?

HORTONS--Salem's premiere family has fallen on hard times of late. There simply aren't that many left. And those who are left make infrequent appearances.

Alice (rarely appears)
Mickey (rarely appears)
Doug and Julie (still pop up from time to time)
Will (Just returned)
Allie (baby)

BRADYS--In somewhat better shape. At least most of them appear on a regular basis.

Bo and Hope
Chelsea (soon to be leaving)
Ciara (baby)
Roman (rarely appears)
Grace (baby)




Tony (soon to be leaving)
Anna (I guess leaving too)
Nicole (if the wedding happens)
Johnny (baby)
Sidney (baby)




Mia (will undoubtedly be gone once the baby story wraps up)
Dr Baker (ditto)

By the way, my divisions are totally arbitrary in some cases (such as placing Kate's sons in groupings with their father's families instead of with her). Others would probably do it differently. That's totally cool.

So, if that's the lay of the land, then what's to be done? Here's what I think.

There's still some deadwood. I think the trimming stopped a little bit early. A couple more judicious cuts could be made without affecting story too terribly. If they're not going to write for Roman, for example, they should cut Josh Taylor loose. And, honestly, would anyone really miss that whiny Melanie? For the most part, I think I could do without Dr Daniel as well, even though I'm nuts about Shawn Christian.

The veterans that are left should be played as frequently as possible, in meaty story. It's so delicious to see Victor and Stefano leading their families against each other these days! We need more of this, please. But Maggie (with or without Mickey) and Caroline need stories! I've loved Maggie the meddler throwing herself in the middle of the Daniel-Chloe-Lucas situation. Those recent scenes with Lucas in the bar, were a good reminder of what a powerhouse actress Suzanne Rogers is. More of her please.

Using the vets more often won't completely make up for the loss of John and Marlena, but it would help.

Salem needs more Hortons!
They are the show's first family and their simply too thinned out. Aging Will and bringing him back from Switzerland was a good start. Bringing back Abby would also fill a gap in the younger crowd that's going to be created when Rachel Melvin leaves the show and Chelsea Brady is no more.

I know the Jeremy Horton thing a while back was a bust, but maybe it's time to try again. I like the idea of a Horton who isn't quite so goody-goody all the time. I think that, in a good story, the character could work. Especially if his return was followed by the return of his father Mike. Salem Hospital should always have a Horton working there.

Speaking of returns, what about bringing Bill Horton back from Africa, or wherever that clinic is located? Get some known name to recast the role on a short-term contract of 6-8 months and bring the character back home with a tropical disease to die. That would give the regulars on the canvas some meaty stuff to play, while keeping the character around long enough for viewers to both get used to him and care that he's dying. Plus, it might springboard some other short-term returns. And it would give Lucas a chance to have some interaction with his father.

A few more Bradys wouldn't hurt either. Bring Eric back. Sami shouldn't be left without any of her siblings, especially since her mother is gone. (By the way, now that Sami's back in Salem, I really want to see her grappling with not having her mom around, please.) Recast Shawn and get Martha Madison back as Belle. This would fill out the age gap between Bo and Hope and Ciara, return a favorite couple to the scene and bring back one of the best young actresses the show ever had.

The show's greatest strength is its couples.
Days is known for creating legendary couples, probably moreso than any other show. Bo and Hope. Marlena and John (and before that Marlena and Roman). Doug and Julie. Mickey and Maggie. Shawn and Belle. These are couples that, no matter what happened, the viewer, and everyone else, always knew where their heart lay.

The show needs to get back to this concept. Stop splitting up Bo and Hope for stupid shit. This is a couple that should be facing all their obstacles together.
Not only has the show stopped creating couples like this, they've been actively torpedoing some of the couples that should and could be of that caliber. Why are Lucas and Sami not together? Why are Brady and Chloe not together?

As far as creating couples go, please, please, please, find someone for Max who is not his niece! I'm sorry, but adopted Brady or not, that's creepy! Darin Brooks is a cutie pie, a strong actor, and needs to be part of a fantastic coupling. Otherwise, I guess he'll be paired with Sami next!

It's time for Salem to become a little less hetero.
Both As the World Turns and All My Children have done a good job of integrating gay characters into their core families. I'm thinking an Eric Brady-Jeremy Horton coupling would put the perfect gay spin on the classic Brady-Horton romance. In addition to fleshing out two characters that are relatively blank canvases at this point, it would also add story possibilities to their suggested returns.

Don't forget the connective tissue!
It's the friendships and family ties that make soaps work. In between all the couplings and drama and big story, we have to see these little bits that remind us how the different characters are connected to each other. Please don't "island" characters in story so that they only interact with the same characters day in and day out. I know it's a cheaper approach, but the show is better when we see Stephanie having a heart to heart with her grandmother Caroline or Aunt Maggie getting involved with Lucas or Hope.

This also means that absences have consequences.
Sami and Marlena were close. Marlena's departure leaves Sami with no immediate family in Salem, except for Roman. I want to see this worked into Sami's story so badly. She needs to miss her mother and commiserate with her father over it. Bo and Hope need to invite their niece over for dinner, so she won't be so lonely. I'd love to see Brady and Sami talking about missing their parents for a couple of scenes. There are all kinds of possibilities here. Hey, it would give Roman something to do!

Give Kate a life. Or at least a love life. I love the way she's playing Chloe right now. It's much more subtle than she's been in the past. But, now that her cancer scare is over, I'd really hate for her to go back to doing nothing but meddling in her kids' lives again.

There's a lot of real talent on the show now.
With the departures of Drake Hogestyn and Stephen Nichols, Days has lost two members of the macho bluster-snort-glare school of male soap lead acting, which is a good thing. With Josh Taylor's Roman currently without a storyline, that leaves Peter Reckell as the only b-s-g actor with lots of screen time, which is a lot easier to tolerate. For once, the show is populated with a lot of folks who are both good-looking and decent actors, with only one or two exceptions. This, of course, is a very good thing.

NEXT: Are there really Days without Marlena?

Monday, March 09, 2009

So how did I do?

Well, the results are in, and, as I feared, this was my worst time ever for the 5K. Still, I've let myself go so much over the last year that it's kind of surprising I could even finish at all this time. I've managed to drop a few pounds over the past several weeks. Not much, but it was enough to enable me to do the walk without being uncomfortable, over-tired, or overly winded. Still, I'm nowhere near where I should be or even where I used to be, in terms of physical shape.

Still, this is one of my best overall rankings. Typically, I end up in the bottom 500 or so participants. I can consistently walk a 15-16 minute mile when I push myself, which is a pretty good clip, but when 75% of the participants are runners, well, there's no way I'll ever be in the top 50% of the finishers. So, I'm pretty tickled to move up about 300 in the overall rankings.

My ranking among men is pretty much what it usually is, as is my ranking in my age range. I'm always on the tail-end of both groups. Whatever my reasons for doing this, it's certainly not to be the leader of the pack!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Some thoughts on the 2009 Anthem 5K

I've been doing this for several years now, and it's just dawned on me that I have no idea why. Initially, I started walking the Triple Crown races as a fitness thing, but I don't think that's really the reason any more. I never seriously train.* I only participate in these races, plus the Derby Festival Mini-Marathon, never any of the others that go on throughout the year. My times never improve. I'm still just barely dragging my ass across the finish at the longer races. And I'm still fat. So fitness as a motivator is just right out.

The races do raise money for a worthy local charity, which is nice. But surely it's a lot easier just to write a check than to shell out 35 bucks, get up at the crack of dawn, wander aimlessly through the streets of Louisville, sweat profusely, and spend the next day nursing aches and blisters? Surely.

So, for the moment, I'm leaning towards a combination of Spring fever, temporary insanity, and possession by evil spirits to explain my behavior, but while I ponder this mystery some more, here are some thoughts on this year's Anthem 5K, the first leg of the Triple Crown of Running.

The race started 30 minutes earlier this year, and I was almost late. I got there with no time to stretch or warm up, which explains today's extremely achey calf muscles.

I rode the back up bike downtown to the starting line. It's not that far from our house, and the combination of closed streets for the race, plus limited parking downtown, makes the bike a good choice. My bike has a flat, hence the back up bike, which, I discovered en route, has no rear brakes.

The race had a new route this year, which was both good and bad. I loved walking through one of the older neighborhoods down by the river, but one of the things that keeps me moving for the last half of any of the races is knowing what's coming up. When I'm getting tired and running out of steam, knowing where the mile markers are and which streets we'll be taking helps motivate me. I can only make it through the last three miles of the mini by counting off the streets in my head.

There was a woman at the starting line waving what looked like a plastic version of Thor's hammer. I'm still pondering that one.

One of the discouraging things about being a walker in the 5K race is the realization that by the time you reach the first mile marker, the fastest runners are crossing the line.

I had on of my worst times this year: 51 minutes. Usually, I'm at least 5-6 minutes faster than that.

But I did cross the finish line in time to get a couple of Cinnamon Crunch bagels from the Panera booth. Sometimes they run out of them before the walkers show up.

The walkers were sequestered up an alley this year, in order to allow all the runners to start before we did. Thanks to this arrangement, it was eight minutes after the start of the race before I crossed the starting line. and despite this arrangement, there were still runners trying to bulldoze their way through the walkers. (And complaining because we were in front of them.)**

It's beyond me why the rules say no strollers allowed, but the race marshalls never say anything to the folks who bring them. Last year, I was almost run down by a woman running with her racing stroller in front of her.

It was a gorgeous day for the race. Sunny and warm, it felt like the long winter has ended at last.

When I crossed the finish line, the DJ was playing (and I'm not making this up) "It's Raining Men!" Fitting.

I certainly enjoyed participating again this year. I just wish I knew why I did it.

Next race: Rodes City Run (10 K) in a couple of weeks.

*Well, I did join a training group last year, to somewhat less than satisfactory results.

**I get tired of the complaints about walkers I hear. I pay the same fee as those guys do to be there. I try to start as far back in the crowd as I can. But there's always somebody back there trying to push through. I'm not sure what else one can do.